Vegetarianism

A greengrocers display with some vegetables highlighted in the foreground
The term vegetarianism covers a whole range of eating behaviours, but technically a vegetarian is a person who does not eat meat, fish, chicken, shell fish or anything derived from any of these when they have been killed. A vegan will only eat plant based foods and won't, for instance, even eat eggs or milk. In fact there is a whole range of eating behaviours covered by the term 'vegetarian' from people who will eat almost anything to those who are vegetarian but don't even like vegetables!

Is vegetarianism healthy?

A crate of different vegetables
Yes - research shows that you can eat a vegetarian diet and be as healthy as, if not healthier than, those who eat meat. This is as long as you make sure that you get all the necessary types of protein, carbohydrates, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and essential minerals.

How do I do that?

Protein Teenage girls need 45 grams of protein and teenage boys need 55 grams of protein, per day. Get it from nuts, peas, beans, cereals, milk, cheese and eggs. Carbohydrate This gives you energy - you get from bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, fruit. Fats You get these from butter, cheese, milk. Vitamins Five portions of fruit and vegetables a day will give you most of these but beware, vegetarians can easily run short of the B vitamins which are normally contained in meats. Marmite is a good source, but you may need to take supplements. Essential minerals Most important are calcium, iron and zinc. Calcium is found in milk, cheese, yoghurt, white bread and green vegetables. Iron is found in eggs, leafy greens, whole meal bread, plain chocolate and lentils (vegetarians tend to run short on iron unless they are making special efforts to make sure they get enough). Zinc is found in cheese, sesame and pumpkin seeds and lentils. If you are a vegetarian or are thinking of becoming a vegetarian we would strongly recommend checking out the website www.vegsoc.org/youth/school/ks4/